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Lunch at Waterbar, San Francisco

[Translate] Exterior, interiors, open kitchen, view of bar, close up of the oyster bar, and the menu A relative hidden gem to have a calm, delicious, seafood lunch near Ferry Building Marketplace is Waterbar Restaurant. It’s about a half mile walk from tourist central. The Waterbar is a sprawling, two-level restaurant with exposed brick walls, lots of natural light flooding in from the windows, and two floor-to-ceiling fish tank columns. At the bar, features the day’s catch of various oysters. There’s even an outdoor patio to soak in some sun and a spectacular view of the Oakland Bay Bridge. (more…)

Preview of Craftsman & Wolves, San Francisco

[Translate] At Craftsman & Wolves’ kitchen with Owner William Werner at Bayview District When I was planning my visit to San Francisco, I scour the Web and read food magazines for any new places I should visit. Interestingly enough, since my parents and I subscribe to Bon Apetit my mom casually mentioned about there’s a section about San Francisco and there was a small box on a corner of a page that mentioned Craftsman & Wolves insane “the Devil Inside” foie gras, caramel, chocolate muffin (here’s BA’s blog version of the said piece and that said muffin is from the..

Alexander’s Steakhouse, San Francisco

[Translate] I rarely eat at a steakhouse. For the most part, I tend to think steakhouses are masculine, darkly lit places that just care about large slabs of well-marbled beef. Except when I visited Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco with my family very recently, I will make an exception. Alexander’s Steakhouse is a contemporary, urban, handsome, upscale steakhouse and if you do look at their food menu, it has Asian touches. There’s exposed brick walls, booth tables and open kitchen that define the restaurant’s loft-like space. There is an upstairs dining area that is slightly more private dining area that..

Hot Doug’s in Chicago – Encased Meats Heaven

[Translate] Hot Doug’s and the line…before opening For the past few years, I heard so many great things about Hot Doug’s. Besides my meal at Alinea, this was my other highly anticipated stop. I know that this place was popular and has a cult following but I didn’t expect a line that goes inside that restaurant and wrap outside about a third way down the block – and that was just opening time of 10:30 AM. Menus & Interior By the time my friend and I made it through the doors, this place was decorated in hot dog kitsch. Mainly..

Alinea, Chicago – A Meal with A Touch of Mystery

[Translate] My copy of Alinea’s cookbook (without its slipcover) A friend of mine gave me a copy of Alinea‘s cookbook and it was part of my inspiration to head to Chicago earlier this month. The gorgeous, colorful photos and the food presentations looked very unique (though I can’t fathom of cooking from this book). Also hearing and reading many good things about this restaurant, I simply have to eat here. Booking a table for this restaurant is, to say the least, a relatively nerve raking telephone game, especially for those who want dine there in less than 2 months in..

The Purple Pig, Chicago

[Translate] Gate to The Purple Pig; Interior shots; A purple pig; The menu When I was doing my research for places to eat around Chicago and asking friends about this question, many mentioned The Purple Pig. Even I asked the friendly baristas and staff of La Colombe Torrefaction (Chicago) and they even said, “This place is awesome.” With both tourists and locals loving this restaurant, this should be fail-safe to have a meal here. The Purple Pig is located in the neighborhood of The Magnificent Mile where it is tucked away in between the glitzy, middle to high-end boutiques and..

La Colombe Torrefaction in Chicago

[Translate] La Colombe Torrefaction, Chicago: Exterior, Interior, delicate flowers by the window, baked goods display As probably most of you might know, I am a die-hard coffee nerd/addict. I do admit that I’m pretty spoiled by the coffee culture as I’m coming from New York City, I have access to a lot of very good to excellent coffee shops here. When I was planning my trip to Chicago, I was mildly freaking out thinking there might be a lack of my essential need in the morning. I don’t want my travel companion to face the ugly side of me when..

Visiting Vosges Haut Chocolat in Chicago

[Translate] Exterior, Interiors of Vosges Haut Chocolat in Lincoln Park, Chicago When I visited Chicago, I had to visit Vosges Haut Chocolat mostly because this company is started and based there. I came with a friend to their Lincoln Park, which is considered Vosges’ flagship. It is much larger shop than the one and looks more of a glamorous romantic than the darker, bohemian chic than New York’s SoHo boutique. I find it quite interesting that each store has its own personality rather than having a “cookie cutter” template of how each store should look like. (more…)

Floriole Cafe & Bakery, Chicago – A Great Rustic, Elegant American Bakery

[Translate] Exterior of Floriole; Interior; Galette des Rois; Chalkboard listing local, organic sources used; Owner and Head Baker of Floriole Sandra Holl One of my other pastry stops in Chicago was Floriole on a bright weekend morning. The minute I walked up to this bakery with my friend, I had a feeling this was special. The large, welcoming, warm wooden space feels like a second home to me. Local residents lined up the counter waiting to order their cup of coffee or tea and a couple of beautiful golden brown pastries for themselves or family. The gentle scents of butter..